July 01,2021

By Lapacazo Sandoval

Contributing Writer


Kevin Hart has proven himself over and over again in the entertainment industry. Hart is a brand and he has been in films that have grossed more than $4 billion at the box office and he’s a money earner with a string of successful stand-up specials and concert tours to his credit might have earned the title — “the hardest working African American man in show business” if the Wayans family had retired that award a decade ago.

In the new drama “Fatherhood” now playing on Netflix, Hart steps into the shoes of Matt Logelin, a widower, after his loving wife, Liz (Deborah Ayorinde), dies from a pulmonary embolism one day after giving birth to their daughter, Maddy.

His grief is deep but his commitment to raising, Maddy is solid but the struggle as a new parent, for him, is real and challenging. His in-laws (Alfre Woodard, Frankie Faison) doubt he is up to the challenge over fatherhood. 

The streaming platform is the perfect spot for “Fatherhood” and should do well for Netflix. Here Hart is not using his comedic chops to flesh out his character, choosing to shine up his dramatic skills which show promise but are not quite there yet but it does take time to master the acting craft.

“Fatherhood” is directed by Paul Weitz from a screenplay credited to Weitz and Dana Stevens. The story is based on a bestselling book Two Kisses for Maddy which is based on Matthew Logelin’s life.

This isn’t his first dramatic role, Hart was in the remake “The Upside” and “Let Go.”

Kudos to the producers for surrounding Hart with a strong supporting cast. Veteran Woodard brings gravitas as Matt’s mother-in-law, who feels, in her bones, that he’s too heartbroken to raise Maddy on his own. In the role of his supportive best friend, it is funnyman Lil Rel Howery, who snaps up the film's funniest moments. 

DeWanda Wise as a romantic interest is interesting and Melody Hurd, as young Maddy, brings a perfect balance to the story. 

As you imagine the demands of being a grieving, the single father pulls him in every direction imaginable. That might be one of the issues for Hart, the actor is having broad enough shoulders to hold the center. There are those moments when his comedic bones show. It’s not that he doesn’t try but you can almost see his kinetic comedian energy rippling under his skin. 

Kudos to director Weitz, who delivers a nicely balanced warm, and emotional story. In the end, we feel for the young father but there is a part that wishes that Hart could have gone deeper. 

“Fatherhood”  now playing on Netflix.

Category: Arts & Culture